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Wrong About Japan Paperback – January 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Novelist Carey is a two-time Booker Prize winner (Oscar and Lucinda; True History of the Kelly Gang), and although his latest work is presented as nonfiction, his fiction readers won't be disappointed. This travel diary reads like a scintillating novella, and Carey has, in fact, added his own fictional embellishments to the real-life events he reports. After his shy 12-year-old son, Charley, began reading English translations of Japanese manga, their Saturday mornings at the Manhattan comic book store Forbidden Planet spurred Carey's own interest. As their "cultural investigation" of manga and anime widened, "the kid who would never talk in class was now brimming with new ideas he wasn't shy to discuss." This father-son bond deepened when they flew to Japan to meet manga artists and anime directors, including Yoshiyuki Tomino (Mobile Suit Gundam). At publisher Kodansha, they learned of manga's history, and touring Studio Ghibli, they encountered the "most famous anime director in the world," Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). Their guide to Tokyo's cartoon culture was Takashi, a teenager the narrative says Charley met online (yet, as Carey revealed in a newspaper interview, he created the imaginary character of Takashi because the narrative needed conflict, and Carey wanted to avoid "conflict with anybody in real life"). Carey's fluid and engaging writing style gets a boost from 25 energetic b&w anime/manga illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
With two Booker Prizes to his credit, Carey has little left to prove in literary circles. But he admits straightaway that he’s a horrible reporter. So horrible, in fact, that one of the characters of his new nonfiction book, Wrong About Japan, is entirely fictional. That reviewers let such trickery slide attests to Carey’s remarkable writing skills, as does the rich variety of critical responses to his book. It’s an homage to his son, a study of dislocation, and an intellectual inquiry into the roots of Japanese animation. A few critics knocked Carey for not being the best travel companion on the page and meandering rather than driving straight at his point. Wrong About Japan is a slight book, but just as with the best animation, one should not dismiss it as child’s play.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I didn't like some of the repetitive information and the author at times was a little harsh about the supposed superiority of the Japanese. However, the interview with a man who talked about living through the bombing during WWII was of great value and I will never forget it.
This is a fun, quick read with precious nuggets throughout.
keeping in mind that it was gertrude stein who, while in france, said that there is no there there in reference to a city in california. that her comment fits the western writer’s conception of japan in a way so varied no two writers come back from a visit to japan with the same impression was not lost on roland barthes. roland barthes returned from his trip to japan to put together a book of photos from his trip, his tourist experiences, and historical and geographical facts described as a lecture on signs, images and objects.
like barthes’ Empire of Signs, carey’s book is illustrated. but for inspiration, carey follows the lead of his twelve year old son, his interest, the imaginary world manga, japanese comic books.
being a novelist of note has its perks. once father and son are into their journey among the hi-tech mish mash of eclectic, electronic tokyo, carey’s connections link them to the creators of manga, the famous and the historical legends, while young carey hooks up with a japanese fan his own age, making for a trip of impressions from the youth cultural viewpoint of an adolescent and a glimpse into the world of professionals, the working adults, often boring to the young, and for a book both young and older readers can enjoy.
Most recent customer reviews
True History of the Kelly Gang: A Novel, Carey's second Booker Prize winner, 2001Read more